Aflao youth asks govt to stop cement importation

BY: Mary Anane
Mr Mengistu Agorbia (2nd left)), spokesperson of the Aflao Youth Association, speaking at the news conference.

The alleged influx of bagged imported Dangote Cement on the Ghanaian market is creating uneasiness among cement dealers in the Aflao area.

The youth in the area, alleged that Dangote Cement, a private company in Ghana, was importing bagged cement from its Ibese Cement Plant in Nigeria into the country.

Some irate youth of Aflao, who consider the move as an effort by Dangote to collapse the business of local cement manufacturing companies, including Diamond Cement Ghana Limited, which is located at Aflao, have called on the government to intervene to protect the local industry.

The Aflao Youth Association at a news conference in the town on Wednesday, claimed that over the past few weeks, many trucks loaded with bagged Dangote Cement from Nigeria had offloaded their cargo at Aflao.

“This practice of flooding the market with cheap cement to the disadvantage of the local cement-producing companies is an economic sabotage which needs to be addressed”, the spokesperson Mr Mengistu Agorbia said.

He said Diamond Cement, the only major factory in the Volta Region and located at Aflao, employed over 600 people and had provided job opportunities for over 1,000 others in the area.

He said the establishment of the factory in the region and subsequent employment of many of its youth had led to a drastic reduction in crimes.

 Mr Agorbia added that, the company had also provided some facilities such as schools in the the communities where it is located.

He claimed that in the last two months, Diamond Cement had lost about 40 per cent of its market share to the imported Dangote Cement.

The fear of the youth, he said, was that if the trend continued, Diamond Cement would lay off their people who worked and earned their living from the company.

Learn from Nigeria

Mr Agorbia indicated that the government had been championing the patronage of made-in-Ghana goods and it was, therefore, necessary for it to protect local industries from unfair foreign competition.

He said Ghana must learn from Nigeria which had banned certain imports and services, including rice, cement, poultry products and textiles, to aid the growth of its industries.

He said Diamond Cement and Ghana Cement (Ghacem) would suffer greatly if the  the unfair and unbridled importation of cement continued.

Mr Agorbia therefore appealed to the government to immediately halt what he said could easily become a disaster for the country.